Anarchist Shield Book
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Transcript of Anarchist Shield Book
I will force my body to be my weapon and my statement so... -The Stranglers, Death & Night & Blood
IntroductionTechnology has changed the street protest. In centuries past, a mass of people wishing to express themselves could only be silenced by live gunfire. But the advent of riot armor, lachrymatory gases and less-lethal projectiles have allowed ruling establishments to squelch the voice of protesters with great ease, and even better PR. It is the interest of this booklet to help preserve our freedoms of speech and public movement in expressing ourselves. The objective is not to up the ante or encourage street battles. No one sets out to engage the police or the army. We are on the streets to be seen and heard, but find it ever more difficult as arrests and injuries from policing forces aim to shut our voices out of the general equation. One benefit of our modern and wasteful mass consumption society is that it allows us to protect ourselves from these forces. We have the material and the means to defend our protests and to keep the police at a distance. Our method is self-defence. We march with a mission and should those in power order others to stop us, we have a right to defend our bodies as much as our message. This book was written to help preserve the freedom of movement and assembly. Most of this book was heavily inspired to the White Overalls movements in Europe A Roman relief depicting a testudo formation. who have a much longer history of effecting change through powerful demonstrations. We owe our thanks to them and hope that we in the Americas can also find such strength in our voices.
Part I Shield varieties and constructionThe type of shield you are looking to use depends on the main factors of speed of construction, concealment, the actions you will be involved in and materials on hand.
Selecting a shield typeAs persons who perform self-defence presumably without the use of a weapon, there are a wide array of options in shield tactics. For our purposes, we are interested in forming a shield wall formation providing for freedom of movement and defence. This means that you can choose between using a shield with the traditional one-arm method, or a two-handed method. While a one-armed shield provides more maneuverability, two-armed shields give greater strength in defending oneself and pushing away the attacker. As a person is otherwise unarmed, the two-handed shield should be considered a strong choice and critical to the center of any shield wall. The methods of both will be described below. The other issue is the type of shield design. While much of this is based on costs and available materials, there are other factors to keep in mind. Transportation: If your action requires the crossing of a border bring materials for shields that can double as everyday items. A large cardboard box (filled with old books perhaps) in the back seat or a few non-inflated inner-tubes for your river-rafting trip will be easy to slip by authorities. Concealment: Taking the shield in transit from where you are staying to the action's convergence spot could find you some trouble. Large shields of course are harder to conceal. The advantage of inflatable shields is that they can be constructed while actually at the convergence spot pretty quickly. Movement: If you are expecting to have to run some and fear that there wont be enough members of a shield wall to provide walking protection, larger scutum (tower) shields can be very difficult to run with. While being held in position your knees may hit the bottom of the shield and otherwise its rather bulky. Type of action: Hopefully you will have a sense for what type of direct action is being planned in general as well as what means of force the police plan on using. Larger shields are better for protecting against projectile weapons, while smaller ones are more maneuverable for defending against truncheons. Never underestimate what the police will do, but if you know that their force is not equipped with rubber bullets or the like, you can presume that hand to hand fighting is more likely. Also, if the type of action requires defending a perimeter, larger shields are better if nothing else for their imposing appearance.
Shield shapes and advantagesA note: The simpler, DIY method presumes that shields will be made more flat, while traditionally, all shields were rounded to better deflect blows and cover the body. Rounded shields are considerably more difficult to construct with most materials. Also, for our purposes here, shields with hard an not rounded corners are generally more adaptable, so consider squaring out a shape (e.g. the basic curved round shield becomes a flat "square"
shield). Round shield: The most basic (and simplest to construct with a garbage can lid) are small round shields usually measuring 21/2 to 3 feet in diameter. This is a common shield size for the police in several European countries. It is compact and easy to use, providing protection for the head and torso. This is also the shape you will have using an inner-tube variant. Heater: A viking era round shield. The heater shape is the classic medieval looking shield with a flat top and rounded, tapering bottom. It provides the hard edge top, which can be used as a tool in grappling as well as better lower protection. If you follow any given SCA directions, you will probably end up with something like this.A heater-shaped shield.
Kite shape: the kite shape is the traditional Viking and Norman pattern with either rounded or sharp edges generally resembling a kite. The elongated bottom protects more of your lower torso (privates included) and parts of your legs, and yet isn't as difficult to walk with as a tower shield. Scutum or Tower shield: The tall, slightly curved on the horizontal plane shield is the old standard of the Roman Testudo formation. It is also A Norman kite shield. approximately the style which most police riot shields are shaped as. Police variants differ from about 30-40 inches in height, whereas the old Roman shield could reach some 4 1/2 feet (or at least that high, relative to how short they were back then). At the larger size end, make the shield so that you have space for both your feet to walk underneath and your eyes to peer over. The advantage is clearly full body protection without having to move the shield. Visually, it is also the most imposing, and it provides ample space for a message to be written. Ideally, no formation is without some of these, however it is a shield that is cumbersome, difficult to transport and almost impossible to use offensively other than pure shoving. This is the default size if using the pool raft inflatable variant.
Roman scutum shields.
HandlesOne-handed handles: First of all, we should cover the format in which handles are applied, which is universal for any one-armed design. Simple grip handles in the middle of your shield will always work in a pinch. But they do not allow for the control that might be necessary in a hot situation. They are easy to pull away and dont allow for as much flexibility. Really, if you dont care to be precise than they will do fine in Depiction of handle placement on a heater-style shield. general situations. Constructing the handles themselves depend on the material you are using. You may need to drill holes, or perhaps you can just punch them through. This also depends on if you wish to use a rope or leather strap or will need a straight hole for a store-bought metal handle. One-armed handles: The traditional shield handles function with one strap that your forearm passes through, up to just before your elbow. Then a handle should be found just where your hand can grasp. The angle of this set up is at 45 from the top and side of the shield. A quick way to determine the angle is to hold one corner of the shield and let it dangle, then draw a line straight down, perpendicular to the ground. Of course if you are building a round shield, this angle aspect doesnt matter. Place the handle relatively close to the upper corner. You can determine the exact position by holding the arm you will be using across your chest. The top of the shield should be a few inches above that. The horizontal position is dependant on the width of the shield, but remember that that corner is what will become an extension of your arm, so leave it near enough to the edge. Two-handed handles: Shields with two hands require a different sort of handle configuration. As one-armed shields are carried for left-right sweeps and up-down pivoting at the elbow, two-handed shields are primarily used for moving them back and forth. For this, position two vertical handles perpendicular from the top of the shield. The distance between the two vertical handles should be just about the width of your arms. The idea is to allow for a perfect pushing action from your elbows bent at your sides out. If the spacing is a little more narrow than this, it will work almost as well. Adjust as feels comfortable. With any style of handles you use, remember that you will want to either wear thick gloves, or make sure that your knuckles have some clearance. Once the shield gets hit, your knuckles will be receiving the brunt of the blows.
One-armed method (traditional) The traditional method of employing a shield is to use one's non-dominant arm extended through the loop of the shield up as far as the end of the forearm with the handle gripped by the hand. However, if the shield is the only thing you will be carrying, you may wish to use your dominant arm instead. For purposes of explaining stance and movement, we will presume it is the left arm that is holding the shield. If not, simply reverse these directions. Adjustments in shield position are made by pivoting at the elbow, while keeping the upper arm firm and in place. The defensive reaction is a sweeping one, ou